Leadtek WinTV USB II

Review

posted 4/17/2004 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Say you have a laptop but want to watch TV on it. What do you do? Well, there’s a few USB TV card solutions out there and today we are going to take a look at one from Leadtek. Dubbed the WinFast TV USB II this USB TV adapter lets you watch, record, timeshift, and burn programs along with listening to music via the FM tuner.

The WinFast TV USB II comes bundled with the main unit, remote, antenna, stand, software, and audio cable. The main unit is a flat bluish plastic with connectors in the back and status lights in the front. The power button and IR sensor is also on the front as well. Each connector on the back is neatly labeled on top of the unit. The inputs are audio, AV, S-video and TV while the outputs consist of audio only. Missing from the connectors that I think should've been included is RCA audio jacks. Most of my audio connections from my cable box or my receiver are RCA jacks but with the WinFast TV USB II, you'll need to purchase a convertor if your audio source doesn't have that smaller 1/8" jack. If you're connecting a coaxial source, you won't need an audio input of course. The bottom of the unit has four plastic "feet" but if you need to stand the unit on end, Leadtek has included a very solid metal stand. All you have to do is remove the rubber covering on one side and attach the metal stand by inserting the notches of the stand into the unit. The neatly labeled back allows for ease of connections so that even hardware challenged people can easily hook it up.

As the title suggests, the unit plugs into the computer via a USB port. USB 2.0 high speed allows for 480Mbits/s and the WinFast TV USB II is rated for USB 2.0. You also have to plug the unit into an outlet to supply power. I’m always a stickler for brick power plugs and the WinFast TV USB II’s plug is brick-ish. The brick style always takes up more room on a power strip and this one is no exception.

The remote included with the package is a pretty standard IR remote with all the basic features. Everything is labeled clearly and cleanly. Button tension is pretty good. If you have a learning remote, you can easily program it to control the WinFast TV USB II. I’m a remote consolidator so this was a pretty good option for me. You can control both TV and radio operations with the remote and response time was good. There’s even a boss button on the remote in case you need to quickly hide the application if your boss is coming to check on you.

Software included with the WinFast TV USB II include Ulead VideoStudio and Ulead DVD Movie Factory. The two multimedia editing programs give you the software needed to edit and burn movies. The main software for PVR functions is the WinFast PVR application. I’ll mainly focus on the PVR software in this review.
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